First Hit: This film felt disjointed, lacking depth in character development, with moments of laughter. A good romantic comedy is a wonderful and fun to watch. It is also one of the easier genres to do poorly. Despite having Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, two funny people who can make a romantic comedy work – it doesn’t work here. Yes there are very funny parts but they are few and far between. The failure here is that this film also wants to be taken seriously as a drama as well. The result is a film looking for a base/home genre and therefore lost. When Portia (Fey), who is a Princeton Admissions Director, is with her partner (living together for 10 years) Mark (Michael Sheen), the scenes were not believable. There is no way I bought that they even liked each other – let alone lived together for 10 years. In fact this whole part of the story and script could have been scrapped and the film would have worked. The basic premise is that Portia likes stability and not getting close to anyone. Rudd as John Pressman (a director in an alternative school) pushes for not being stable; he travels with his adopted son and lives in countries all over the world. Both of these people are rebelling against their parents. Portia’s mom Susannah (played by Lily Tomlin) is a rebel of society and stable life – she wants to push the envelope. Mrs. Pressman (Lisa Emery) is old school conservative money and her son John wants to be free and always keep moving. This could be enough for a romantic comedy, but then add Portia may have a son she’s never known and that Rudd might have to settle down – we mix too much drama and it fizzles.
Fey is occasionally good, but mostly neither funny nor dramatically interesting. Rudd is better as he doesn’t have as many hurdles to jump to make his role work. Travis Bratten (as Rudd’s adoptive son Nelson) is excellent. Nat Wolff is very good as a smart lost young man who wants to become part of something. Tomlin is good as Fey’s troubled and inspirational mother. Sheen was wasted in this role that wasn’t needed to make this film work. Karen Croner wrote an inadequate screen play that didn’t know what it wanted to be. Paul Weitz directed this an probably knew it was failing as he filmed and edited it together.
Overall: Not really worth the money but there are enough laughs to want to watch this for free on a Sunday evening.